TCOM Aerostat System Helps U.S. DHS Border Patrol Identify Threats and Improve Border Security with Real-Time ‘Eye In The Sky’ Intelligence

Nov. 18, 2013 – Columbia, MD – TCOM, the global leader in airborne persistent surveillance solutions, is supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to improve U.S. Border Patrol operations in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Multiple TCOM aerostat systems are being evaluated by Border Patrol agents in key operational environments along U.S.-Mexico border. TCOM’s aerostat systems enable operators to view activity along the border that could be a threat to the public and the nation.

“TCOM’s tactical aerostats are ideal for the geography in southwest Texas,” stated TCOM President Ron Bendlin. “The elevated perspective offers broader reaching surveillance than ground systems can provide, and the mobility of the aerostat system enables operators to quickly and easily relocate the system when needed.”

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The U.S. Border Patrol is now receiving assets, including TCOM’s 17M® and 22M® tactical class aerostats and 38M® operational class aerostats, to aid in detection and tracking efforts throughout the most highly trafficked areas along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Each aerostat system carries a payload of advanced sensor equipment, the same type of sensor equipment that Border Patrol agents use elsewhere. The system can typically remain aloft for two weeks to one month at a time. With operational altitudes of up to 5,000ft, the aerostats provide comprehensive monitoring of thousands of square miles. This extensive range and detailed data provide the actionable intelligence Border Patrol agents need to make mission critical security decisions and keep the Nation’s border region safe.

Tactical and operational TCOM aerostat systems consist of an aerodynamic helium-filled balloon which typically carries radar, video and communications payloads aloft to altitudes ranging from 1,000 ft up to 5,000ft. Payload data is then transmitted to a ground control station through a fiber optic tether providing secure and reliable transmission of high bandwidth data.  The system operates round-the-clock, enabling Border Patrol forces to achieve total situational awareness and identify illegal activity with enough time to evaluate and intercept.

“TCOM has provided aerostat systems to support U.S. and allied military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade,” added Bendlin. “Now, we’re honored to be able to apply our proven expertise in support of border security efforts right here at home.”

Border Surveillance Scenario Demonstration

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